Losing your father can be devastating, especially if you were close to him. You will always miss him, but over the years you will find a way to cope with your loss, and the pain you feel initially with turn into a gentle sadness. He will live on in your memories and in your heart. Every year will bring days when you feel your loss more keenly, such as his birthday, the anniversary of his demise, and of course Father’s Day. Just because he is dead does not mean that you have to stop honoring your dad on this special day. You can start a tradition or find different ways to think of him each year. Here are a few suggestions:
Write your dad a letter.
Tell him what has been happening in your life. Share family news. Find local, national, or global events that would have been of interest to him. Tell him jokes he would have appreciated. Also write about your feelings. Let him know how much you miss him, how you are coping, or even that you are angry at him for leaving you. This may feel strange and possibly slightly creepy at first, but once you get started you will find that your pen is flying across the paper. For just a few moments you will forget that he will not ever read your lines.
When you are done, you could put the letter in a special box and keep adding a new letter each year. You could also burn the letter and imagine that your words will reach him on a trail of smoke.
Visit your dad’s vault.
If your dad is inurned at St. Therese Columbarium, visit his vault. Talk to him as if he was still alive. Imagine his answers in your mind. You can leave flowers, maybe a ribbon or a balloon.
Look at photographs and letters.
This is a wonderful way to tell your children about their grandfather. They may have been too young when he died to remember him very well. If they did know him, encourage them to talk about the pictures and share the things that they remember about him.
Invite friends and family.
Another good way to share your memories is to invite your dad’s friends to a family gathering. Bring your father’s urn home for this occasion, St. Therese Columbarium allows disinurnment so you can spend time with your loved one. This may be a formal dinner, a backyard barbeque, or an informal get-together with snacks and drinks. Take turns telling stories about your dad. You and the other guests will learn about the impact your dad had on other people’s lives. You will realize that you are not the only person who misses him. Especially if he has not been gone for long, you will be able to share your grief and to gain emotional support.
Go to your dad’s favorite place.
If your dad had a special place he liked to go to, visit that place. You will feel closer to him, no matter if it is a beach, a cabin in the woods, a park bench, a museum, the opera, or his front porch. Spend some time trying to see the place with his eyes, to figure out what exactly fascinated him about it. Let your mind wander for a while. Think about the things he may have told you about this place. You will go home that evening with a gentle smile on your face.
Do his favorite thing.
Maybe your dad liked to go fishing. Maybe he loved rodeos. Maybe his passion was musical theater. Maybe he was an artist. Maybe he collected stamps. Spend the day doing whatever it was that gave your dad the most pleasure in life. While it may not be something that you would normally spend your day doing, it will bring you closer to him.
Have a moment of silence.
Sometime during the day, take a few minutes to stand respectfully, without talking or other distractions. Picture your dad in your mind, think about all the good things he did in life and honor him for them.
Whatever you choose to do on this special day should be something that will help you to focus on your dad and honor his memory. Concentrate on celebrating his life, rather than mourning his death.